Daniel Dominguez, 39 and Alberto Cruz, 36, were eating at Pollos Mario restaurant in the Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights on Sept. 12 around 4:30 a.m., according to LGBTQ+ Nation, when a group of men beat them unconscious after yelling homophobic slurs.
According to the New York Daily News, workers at the restaurant did nothing to stop the assault, and the security guard told them to finish their food and leave. The suspects sped off in a vehicle, and no arrests have been made, though the cops are investigating it as a hate crime, the Daily News reported.
“Everything started with one of them,” Dominguez told the Daily News. “He started saying, ‘Why you guys looking at me? I’m not gay, I’m a father. Why do you guys think that everyone who comes in here is a f—–?’”
After one of the attackers started a verbal assault, Dominguez left his seat to confront them. That’s when the men were beaten unconscious. Dominguez said his nose was broken in the assault.
Cruz said that he needed 40 stitches because there was “a lot of blood,” and both men went to the hospital after, according to LGBTQ Nation.
“Everything happened so fast from one minute to another we were surrounded by all of them,” Dominguez told WLNY. “They hit me first. They hit me with a bottle or glass.”
Protestors, both LGBTQ advocates and city leaders, gathered outside of Pollos Mario on Tuesday.
“We asked one of the security guys to do something about it, but he said that the best we could do is to finish eating and leave,” Dominguez told the Daily News. “Basically, they didn’t do anything.”
The restaurant manager, Jacqueline Franco, told a different story. She told the Daily News that the manager did try to stop the fight, but Dominguez and Cruz were not making it “easier” and “put everyone at risk.” She said she gave the video surveillance footage to police but refused to share it with the media.